By Christ alone
“It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:1-12
If you are going to build something you need the right materials. If you are trying to build a house but all you have is string, yarn, and needles, you are not going to make a very good house. Also, if you are trying to make a blanket and all you have is nails, wood, and stone, that blanket isn’t going to be what you want as well.
The same is true for us spiritually. If we don’t use the right materials to build up our faith then we will find that our eternal life isn’t what we had hoped it would be.
We see an example of that in today’s lesson. The Jewish leaders had tried to build a church. To do so they built it upon their human logic. Because they relied on their desires these zealous men found themselves standing on a spiritual foundation that was weak and destined to break.
What was the cause of their misunderstanding of the Bible? It was because they didn’t listen to what God was saying. By not letting Scripture speak but by listening to their reasoning, they missed the very thing they needed the most: salvation from their sins. They missed the foundation they needed to be saved and that is Jesus Christ.
We too can find ourselves on just as weak a foundation when we let our desires and reason get in the way of the truth. Too often we interpret scripture to say what we want it to say to suit our desires. “God is love,” we say, so others should love me no matter if what I do is wrong. “God is forgiving,” we say, and so everyone should just forget the offense I have caused them. “God says help our neighbor,” we say, and so if someone doesn’t help me the way I want then they are wrong and cruel and I don’t have to help them in return.
When we don’t let God be God or let God speak and we simply listen we will twist the truth around too and find ourselves fighting against God instead of standing with him just like the religious leaders.
The disciples were also in the process of building a church. They only used one item and that was Christ. Because they centered themselves on Christ they found themselves standing on solid spiritual ground that would never fail. When we build our spiritual lives with Christ everything starts to fall into place. When our faith is in Christ then we know we are going to heaven because our works often fail and are full of sin but his are perfect and powerful for salvation. When our grace rests in Christ then when bad things happen to us we won’t think that we are out of God’s love but we will know that we are always God’s children because our God will remain graciously faithful to us. If we are standing on Christ then our understanding of God’s Word will be correct as well for God loves us by telling us we are sinners but that he has forgiven us from those sins so we can follow him freely as his children.
Peter reminds us today that there is no other name given to men by which we must be saved. There is no one other than Christ that we must put our faith in because he is the only one who can come through for us always. There is no one other than Christ that can give us the grace we need because we can’t earn our salvation. There is also no other person we must let speak in Scripture than Christ for he is the only one who will tell us the truth, the one who has our best interest in mind, and the one who will tell us what we need to know so we can be with him in heaven. So, we must listen to him and follow him because it is Christ our loving Savior, who is speaking.
When our focus in on Christ alone who was rejected by the ones he came to save, as our cornerstone and solid ground, we will stand forever by his power.
Happy that Christ gives my spiritual life an eternal foundation, just like he does for you.
Jacob Hanneman is pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Terry. He may be reached at email@example.com.